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Palgrave Macmillan

Peasant Petitions

Social Relations and Economic Life on Landed Estates, 1600-1850

ISBN 9781137394088
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

This book examines the structures and texture of rural social relationships, using one type of document found in abundance over all the four component parts of Britain and Ireland: petitions from tenants to their landlords. Exploring the authorship, form, and style of more than 2,000 petitions as well as their content, and looking at variations in petitioning as a communication strategy, it uses requests for help to understand the diverse material and social lives of those who worked the land in an era of profound change. Ranging over the many practices of lordship and estate management, the book offers unexpected angles on many aspects of society and economy on estates in north-west England, the Highland margin of Scotland, the north of Ireland, and Wales. Broad in geographical and chronological scope, it integrates, compares, and contrasts the experience of the rural population in different parts of the British Isles. Primarily social and cultural in focus, it also extends understandings of local, regional, and national histories.

Robert Allan Houston is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of St Andrews, UK. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and St Andrews University before spending six years at Cambridge University, UK, as a research student (Peterhouse) and research fellow (Clare College).

PART I: INTRODUCTION: UNDERSTANDING THE RURAL SOCIETIES OF THE BRITISH ISLES
1. 'Unimportant Minorities': The Landholding Peasantry of Britain and Ireland, C.1600-1850
2. People Above and Below: 'Landlordism', 'Estate Studies', and Relationships Between Owners and Workers of Land
3. Methodologies: The Practice and Theory of Petitions, and the Choice Of Estates
PART II: LANDED ESTATES: PERSONNEL, ORGANISATION, DOCUMENTATION, AND ELEMENTS OF VARIANCE
4. Stewards and Other Estate Officials
5. The Estates and the Petitions
6. Petitions and the Rhythms of Estate Life
7. Empty Spaces: The Missing Estate Petitions of Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century Wales
PART III: AUTHORSHIP, PHYSICAL FORM, AND WRITTEN STYLE OF PETITIONS
8. Authenticity and Authorship
9. Physical Form
10. Address
11. Ending
12. Delivery and Receipt
PART IV: THE CONTENT OF PETITIONS
13. The North of Ireland, C.1750-1850
14. North-West England, c.1600-1800
15. The Highland Margin of Scotland, C.1770-1860
V. LAND, PSYCHOLOGY, AND THE 'HARD SURFACES OF LIFE': ASKING FOR POOR RELIEF ON LANDED ESTATES
16. Poverty and Self-Help in North-West England and Wales
17. Petitioning For Relief on Breadalbane: Estate Policy, Family Life, and Strategies for Care
18. Poverty and its Relief in the North of Ireland: The Place of the Estate
19. Psychology and Necessity: Attachment to the Land in Parts of Scotland and Ireland
PART VI: CONCLUSION: THE LANDLORDS AND TENANTS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND
20. Paternalism and Deference
21. Oppressions, Freedoms, and their Politico-Legal Context
22. The Texture of Rural Society In Parts Of Britain And Ireland

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